- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A bond rating agency has lowered New Jersey’s bond rating, meaning it could cost the state more to borrow money.

Standard & Poor’s announced its action Wednesday, saying the state still has a structural deficit even as the economy is improving.

The report blames the state debt, its pension obligation and one-time measures that cannot be sustained to fill budget gaps.

The general obligation rating was dropped to A-plus from AA-minus. The new rating means the state is still considered to have a strong capacity to meet debts but it is more susceptible to changes in economic conditions.

Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie, says the state is trying to address all the concerns but needs lawmakers to agree to changes in the pension program for public employees.

Paul Sarlo, chairman of the state Senate’s budget committee notes that the Standard & Poor’s report faulted the state for coming up short of revenue projections in the current fiscal year. He said that shows Christie’s administration should listen to lawmakers’ critiques about overly rosy projections to fix the problems.

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